School 'Ties' Together in Support of Family

ARKADELPHIA, AR -- Central Primary School in Arkadelphia is putting its own spin on a nationwide program called "The Great Kindness Challenge." They're spending a week focusing on the good rather than preventing the bad (bullying).

Thursday at Central is seemingly another normal day for everyone, but there's something different.

There's one similarity between every single child that's all tied back to one student.

You won't see Roger Crawley at school without a tie around his neck and his way of doing things, at least for the day, has rubbed off on others.

"Everybody in the whole entire school wants to wear a tie, even third grade," Roger said.

While the focus is centered on this second grader's attire, most of the attention is directed toward his older brother Robert.

Five years his senior, the two still could pass as twins as the big brother has lived a life limited by severe scoliosis.

In February, Robert is set to go into his ninth surgery. And this one's a big one.

"They're gonna put a halo on me," Robert showed. "Stretch me. And [then] back surgery."

It's a very scary and costly adventure but thanks to his school district and the community, it won't be as much.

With help of the local paper, the Siftings Herald, the school district collected, sold and helped tie ties for all the kids at school.

They collected hundreds of ties, most of which were donated and sold for a dollar or given to each student.

All the money collected from the ties will go to the Crawley family and they've raised quite a bit. From donations collected across Arkadelphia Public Schools and within the community, more than $6,000 has been raised.

"Just shows the kind of community we live in and the kind of school that I work at," said Charlotte DeWitt, School Counselor and organizer of the school's Great Kindness Challenge. "Everyone jumped right on board."

It's a process that all started with a tie but will end down the road when Robert, after his surgery, rejoins his classmates and brother for another normal day at school.

"This is my happiest day ever," little brother, Roger, said.

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